One of the best things I've done recently is spending a work holiday as a volunteer cameraman with a local charity because I live in it. The video will be a 30-minute documentary about the work of a children's charity. As a group, we traveled to several rehabilitation hospitals in several cities in Vietnam.
As a speaker I always try to improve the ability to tell my story. But as a videographer, my role is now shifting abroad. The first to recognize a story, then to capture it immediately in the video. I have already started using a video arsenal to perform vlogs for my website. Some of the video imaging skills that I already know and practice. But many events surprised me and helped me develop my expertise.
Here was my scenario. I was traveling with our team of 11 interpreters to hospitals to provide full-day workshops for parents and young children with cerebral palsy. The rooms were narrow. It was hot and humid. Toward the end of the day, the children were tired and crying. Sometimes I had to jump from room to room to capture scenes for children aged 9 months to 17 years. I was looking to capture the passion in the faces of mothers and their babies. I also wanted to introduce each of our healthcare professionals who volunteered to work with these children.
We will leave our hotel at 7 AM and will not return until 5 PM most days. Besides wanting to visit and eat with our team in the evening, I usually had at least two hours working in my room backing up, reviewing and indexing all the days of the video I collected. But I was in my element where there was so much going on around me. I felt like I had a story to tell and tell. Here are the tips I learned and would like to share.
1] Don't assume that you will only keep camera and video capture. You may also have to jump and become the producer, choreographer and editors – everything from start to end video production. Also, you the editor will enable you to capture the video the way you want and save the valuable time you are editing.
2] Make sure you have enough battery power – enough to run a full day of camera work. Buy the largest battery you can. I had 2; 1 for the morning and 1 afternoon. We were off for 12 hours on some days. Also make sure to purchase an external battery charger. Built-in camera charger standby. Do not count on her when photographing every day on a road trip. You won't want to risk blowing camera electronics while charging the battery. One fact is that I didn't have a backup camera. If it crashes, I will sit idle.
3] Get a travel bag that you can carry around easily and access on the go with our daily video. I had 2. My most important thing was to download all of my video equipment. When traveling, you don't want to be signed in to your sensitive video equipment. On your daily outings, get a smaller backpack with lots of pockets that you can comfortably carry on your shoulder or back so you can easily reach while photographing.
4] Get a long stretch for your hotel room when backing up the video and recharging the batteries every evening. I took this advice from a co-worker who travels internationally and saved me a great time. The hotels we have stayed in usually only have one plug that is easily accessible, albeit across the room where all my laptops and video devices have been tuned. If I don't have this long power cord, I'll be in tatters.
5] Backup your video clips every evening to an external drive if not two. Check it to make sure it was copied correctly before deleting it from the camera. I made 2 backups. 1 in the laptop and the other on an external USB drive.
6] Owning a laptop computer with video viewer so you can review your videos to ensure that you get the clips you want are not perfect or out of focus. My video preview software is installed on my laptop so I can watch my video quickly, i.e. lighting, panning or maybe a lot of tense motion. The mistakes made today can be corrected for tomorrow.
7] Make sure you have enough SD memory cards. Sometimes it can get worse or get lost due to its small size. You may have found good content and decided to shoot longer to capture everything.
8] Have a wrist strap attached to the camera. If the camera slips from your hand, you have another chance to save the camera from bending over the concrete. This saved me many times, especially in hot weather when my working days were 10+ hours and I was tired.
9] The wrist strap should have some brands such as your country's flag. Mine was a red TEDx rope and had already started several conversations with other tourists and eventually exchanged biz cards.
10] Wear hiking pants with lots of pockets. I had SD cards, batteries, notebook, pen, water bottle and everything else in every pocket.
11] Large and large tripods. I had a telescopic carbon monopod that was great at getting me into tight spots quickly. Also adjusts to the fly. It was very comfortable to adjust and adjust the overlapping legs. It was also great to get past people's heads when crowds evolved on my topic. Top shots add a big impact as well. There is no such thing as getting right into the topic of the story.
12] You may have a story in mind but be prepared to follow the Segway story or 2 that may explode right in front of your eyes. You should always be vigilant of the scenes and stories that develop around you. Make the camera and microphone work to capture this video with a good sound. This can be a blessing in disguise to give your story a touch or spin. Remember that you can also collect enough good shots of two or three additional stories, to be edited and released at a later time.
13] Always keep your camcorder handy during the day of filming – even in the evening when you are out for dinner with your team. You never know when a video story will appear in front of you. You want to be able to capture it. During the taxi ride, I got a very insightful opinion from one of our Vietnamese interpreters about the history of CP in Vietnam. Real episodes of this nature cannot be repeated.
14] Always make your camera visible around your team or topic. You will get so used to your subjects that you will not know in the end whether or not you are photographing them. This is great for capturing those candid shots. My goal was to arrest them at work around parents and children as frankly as possible. We all know that as soon as a camera appears, people go with stones, guard and train. You want to capture it as comfortable, straightforward and natural as possible.
15] Make sure to have a variety of energy bars and snacks, including water in your packaging or pockets. I didn't, and there were days when we hadn't eaten for a while. You want to conserve your energy. Nothing is worse than the hunger or thirst that distracts you from your video recording.
16] Most importantly, do a daily index of all of your videos while today is on your mind. It started slipping after the first few days and I started to forget about the clips that were from where. I quickly corrected this by doing excel papers on my laptop, indexing by clip number, scene description, location and briefly this. I did this every evening in my hotel room, while charging batteries and making backups. If you know the story line you want to follow, you can start tagging specific clips for use in the documentary. This saves you time when you get home. I also found it very useful to review all clips every evening so that they are included in my mind; I hadn't had enough and still needed.
17] Keep your videos for no more than 2-3 minutes, up to 1 minute. Once I returned to Canada, I found it much faster to find a video by searching 5 clips in 1 minute, rather than searching in 1 clip of 5 minutes. This discovery completely surprised me.
18] My main topic Laverne and I agreed that whenever I felt rude about an emotional comment ready to appear, she was referring to me so that I could come as soon as the video of her monologue. These comments will be sprayed throughout the documentary to reflect the reality of what happened during our 3-week assignment. It is helpful for the photographer to get to know the person in question quickly by spending time with him for a coffee, drink or meal. In this case, it was as easy as Laverne and has been a good friend over the past few years.
Upon returning to our hotel at the end of the day, we always had an hour-long questioning in the dining area, giving each team member an opportunity to share anything they wish, whether it was related to the workshop or their true feelings in general. This was the time I used to get some ideas for other videos that I could capture the next day. It was also a great way to build a team and share your experiences as a group in a far away country.
do you have. My advice to aspiring video developers. I am really looking forward to my next video trip, as I will further enhance my above mentioned skills. Happy video diary!